A weekend of Premier League games and silverware on the line in the EFL Cup Final. BetVictor Brand Ambassador Michael Owen looks at all of the action.
Southampton v Norwich City
Saints to win 2-0
Southampton’s form since the start of the year has been superb. They deserved the win over Everton last week and have been strong at home all season. They’ve lost just once at St Mary’s, and I fancy them to build on that here.
Norwich competed well at Anfield last week and there was some positives to take from the game. Their defensive shape was good and Rashica has been improving each week. They don’t score enough goals, so they’ll need him to hit some form.
This should be a comfortable win for Southampton. 2-0.
Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur
Leeds to win 2-1
It’s been a tough few weeks for Leeds, and the 6-0 defeat to Liverpool feels like they’ve hit rock bottom. The pressure is really on them now, particularly with the struggles they’ve had at the back.
The defeat to Burnley in mid-week has really heightened the pressure on Spurs. Four defeats out of five is shocking form, and Conte is clearly not happy. That result against Man City is looking like a freak result.
This game could define the rest of the season for these two. As bad as Leeds have been, I still think the desire and mood around the squad will be good, I’m not sure the same can be said about Spurs. I’m going for 2-1 Leeds.
Brentford v Newcastle United
Game to be drawn 1-1
This is a massive game for Brentford. After a poor month or so, they’ve been brought back into the relegation race and the pressure is on them. Defensively they’ve been decent, they rarely lose games by multiple goals. Going forward, they’ve been struggling for goals of late.
As for Newcastle, they get better each week. They’ve hit a good run of form, and defensively they look much better. The two signings in January, Burn and Trippier, have made a real difference, even if Trippier is now injured.
Just a couple of points separate these two in the league, and Brentford will be desperate to avoid another defeat. I think this will be a tight game, I’m going for 1-1.
Brighton v Aston Villa
Game to end 1-1
Brighton are usually so organised at home, so I was shocked to see them lose so emphatically to Burnley last week. Their form has dipped over the last month or two, so I would expect a response here.
That’s two straight defeats for Villa, and two disappointing ones. To lose to Newcastle and then Watford, particularly at home, will be frustrating for Steven Gerrard. Villa have so much attacking quality, so to go two games without scoring is alarming.
This looks like a draw to me. I’m going for 1-1.
Crystal Palace v Burnley
Palace to win 2-1
That was a huge win for Palace against Watford. Palace haven’t looked like a relegation side all season, but it’s easy to get dragged into the fight. They cruised to the win against Watford, and they’ve given themselves some breathing room.
What a week for Burnley. You can never write this side off; they’ve got so much character. They’re still a long way from safety, but they’ve given themselves a chance.
I think it will be difficult for Burnley to match the performance levels from the Brighton and Spurs games here. Three games in a week is difficult, and I can see Palace winning here. 2-1.
Manchester United v Watford
Man Utd to win 2-0
I don’t think United are playing well at the minute, but they’re getting results. I didn’t think they played well in Madrid, but to come away with a draw was a great result. They’ve got a tough run of fixtures coming up after this one though, they’ll need to raise the performance levels.
Watford are fighting for every point, and their fixtures are difficult until the end of the season. The defeat to Palace was disappointing, that might have given them some optimism moving forward.
This should be a comfortable Man United win. Watford are struggling and I can’t see them threatening. 2-0 United.
Everton v Manchester City
City to win 3-1
Everton’s performance at Southampton last week was alarming. They never really threatened them, and their away form has been shocking. They’ve got the worst away record in the league and that needs to change soon. It’s going to be a massive few weeks ahead for Frank Lampard.
That shock defeat to Spurs should serve as a wake-up call to City. They didn’t play badly in that game, but they made some uncharacteristic mistakes at the back. With Liverpool breathing down their necks, they can’t afford another slip-up.
I can only see a City win here. Everton are struggling and City should score a few at Goodison. 3-1.
West Ham United v Wolves
Game to end 1-1
West Ham’s hopes for the top four are now slim, and David Moyes might prioritise the Europa League. Performances haven’t been good enough in the last month, particularly going forward. I thought in January they needed another body or two in attack, they didn’t get any business done.
Wolves’ defeat to Arsenal must have been gutting for the players. To lose after leading in the game is so unlike them, and it probably ends their top-four hopes. Still, they can still target a top-six finish.
Only a couple of points separate these two, and I can’t separate them. 1-1.
EFL Cup Final
Liverpool to win 2-1
This is a difficult one to call. Chelsea have been winning, but I don’t think they’ve been playing well. There’s clearly an issue with Lukaku, and Thomas Tuchel has a big decision to make for this game. Defensively they remain top-class, they’ll need to be at their best here.
Liverpool have hit their best form of the season. The squad is looking so strong, and Klopp has some big decisions to make. For so long that front three picked itself, but with the likes of Jota and Luis Diaz in such good form, that’s no longer the case.
Winning a trophy at Wembley is the one thing missing from Klopp’s Liverpool trophy cabinet, they’ll be really up for this. I think it will be a close game, but I think Liverpool will edge it. 2-1, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Salah scored the winner.